I love spending time with my family. The only downside? To see many of them, I need to travel to Kansas. I'm not from there, but when my oldest brother went to school there, stayed had a family. We'd visit often. Then, my parents wanted a change of pace and to "retire." So they moved there. Then they ruined the whole "retire" idea by opening a business. THEN, my youngest brother moved there for school and boom. Most of my family is now there. I still have my 2nd oldest brother and his family up north.
BUT ANYWAY, Joe usually drives most of the way because he really loves driving. Or maybe he just hates how I drive, but I won't ask him. I do try to be a good copilot and not sleep all the time. I like road trips. And having made this particular drive many times has helped me find ways to optimize my experience. Here's what I do to prepare for a road trip:
1. Make Sure Your Car Is Good to Go
Get your oil changed if you're close to needing one and tell them you're going on a trip. Have them check your tires and make sure all is looking well. Oh and check your wipers. There's nothing worse than realizing your wipers could use a change when you drive back in 5 hours of rain. (I learned this one the hard way.)
2. Be Ready for the Weather
Bad weather gives me great anxiety. If it's winter time and there's a chance for bad weather, I'll download the DOT app for the states I'm driving through. Usually, I only need MN and IA. Then, I'll freak out less knowing what I'm in for and where to avoid.
3. Get the Right Directions
I use the Waze app for navigation. It has directions but also allows users to update in real time and report accidents, high traffic, road issues and police sightings. This helps in case you want help avoiding speeding tickets.
4. Music Is a Must
I download a few playlists to my phone from Spotify. Having lots of music choices is good. Who knows what kind of mood I'll be in? It's always a good idea to have a throwback playlist.
5. Listen to a Story
I download a couple good books to my Audible. Now, book choice is key. Self-empowering books and autobiographies are great, but they're not road trip material for me. I often fall asleep in the car and these books don't hold my attention enough to keep me awake. I need a good mystery novel. Gillian Flynn has great ones to choose from. Oh and downloading a bunch of podcasts beforehand could also be a good route to take. Just in case listening to a book for 6 hours isn't something you can do.
6. Stock up on Snacks
To avoid buying unhealthy snacks at gas stations, it's good to have lots of drinks and snacks ready in the car. We fill up our travel coffee mugs before we leave and it's usually enough coffee to last the 9-hour trip. And they're great mugs that actually keep the coffee hot for that long. Wizard travel mugs. I'll fill up a water bottle or two. A couple cans of LaCroix. You know, the basics. I always have Lara bars in my car. If there's time, make some car snacks. Granola, fruit leather, popcorn, anything that won't make you hate yourself after eating it.
In all things, preparation is the key to success. Using these tips will help prepare you for some awesome, relaxing time in your car.